MR1

We came to the mentors’ retreat at Lake Flagstaff this August two by two: two youth, two college students, two adult volunteers and two elders. By the time we left we were one cohesive group. We reflected on the lessons we learned from our mentors and made plans for our own mentoring experiences. 

MR2

Gabriel Baldwin, Game Loft alumnus and mindfulness training consultant led the group in various activities throughout the 3-day session at Lake Flagstaff. 

MR3

We hiked, swam, played games, laughed and ate great food but mostly we listened. We listened to each other, to the sounds of the lake and the forest, and to our bodies. What we heard was louder than mere words. 

MR4

Each member gained an appreciation for nature and for each other. As the sun set over Lake Flagstaff we gave thanks for the many opportunities we were given to serve and to support. 

I Know ME: Expanding Worldviews

Five of the six boys in this re-creation of Homer’s art are I Know ME participants. They “became” subjects in the Winslow Homer painting one afternoon in September. Before we posed them at Birch Point State Park they had never heard of Homer or seen any of his work. Now they will never forget it. The re-creation is an homage to Winslow Homer and not a copy, just as the boys, while assuming the same poses as the originals, have their own thoughts and ambitions as they look out to sea. 

IKME 924 2

In the 1870’s Maine artist, Winslow Homer, painted boys on the beach watching ships and thinking about their future. Would they sail away to foreign ports someday? Would they be adventurers, businessmen, explorers, or just clerks watching the world go by? We’ll never know what happened to the boy models in this painting but we hope to expand the lives of Maine youth by introducing them to great art. 

IKME 924 3                                                     

In I Know ME the youth have experiences that would not have been possible without the program. In the summer of 2019 these boys and others in the I Am Art project will host an art exhibit and will travel to the Winslow Homer studio in Prout’s Neck. If one of the purposes of great art is to make you see the world differently, then the purpose has been fulfilled.  Birch Point, Prout’s Neck, and even boyhood have been redefined by this project. 

As the Loft closes for break and we prepare for summer programming, we're happy to reflect on the successes of our newest program's first season.  In the last month 7th graders in I Know ME have been exploring our own backyard with their first overnight trip to the UMaine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Tanglewood and an end of the year cookout at Swan Lake.  These "close-to-home" adventures aim to develop the skills and confidence needed to prepare the kids for future trips, including a trip to the Maine Wild Blueberry Fesitval this summer! 

We'd like to share with you the I Know ME program in action with a photo journey below!  Keep an eye out for even more from the I Know ME cohort this summer.

Overnight trip to Tanglewood:

Tanglewood1A

Hiking Mt. Batty...

Tanglewood2A

Tanglewood3A

Reaching the summit!

Tanglewood4A

End of Year Cookout at Swan Lake:

IKME Swan Lake 1

IKME Swan Lake 4

Passport ceremony, IKME will be visiting every State Park in Maine!

IKME Swan Lake 5

IKME Swan Lake 10

Braving the June waters and swimming in Swan Lake!

Several years ago Ray and I discovered the State of Maine state park passport program and it changed our lives.

Maine State Park Passport

If you are unfamiliar with the program it is a checklist for visiting all 48 state parks managed by the Department of Parks and Lands of the State of Maine. The parks range from Fort McClary in Kittery to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Northern Aroostook County.

Fort McClary

Visiting all 48 state parks introduces you to beaches, historic forts and buildings, mountains, hiking trails, canoe trails, and the depth and breadth of the state of Maine. When we devised the I Know ME program we realized that our kids would benefit from being exposed to all of these wonderful parks and seeing what makes living in Maine such a rich experience.

On February 6 the first group of I Know ME kids visited Commissioner Walter Whitcomb in Augusta to receive their state park passports. A story about their visit was picked up by the Associated Press and circulated nationally.

Commissioner Whitcomb

A goal of the I Know ME program is to help young people confront the problems of the state and answer nagging questions using the resources of government, business, tourism, universities, museums, and people. Engaging with the state parks is one step in this process of exploration.

After visiting Commissioner Whitcomb the group had its first visit to the Maine State Legislature.

Crossing through the metal detector was the first challenge.

Gage-boots                   

Senator Mike Thibodeau welcomed the group to the legislature.

IKME-Mike-1

IKME-Mike-2

Representative Erin Herbig showed them her office including the “secret passage” to the House floor.

IKME-Erin

IKME-Herbig

In these days of political cynicism it is important for kids to understand their government and to be able to understand the work they do for the people of Maine.

Each session ends with journal writing. Their journals will be kept from year to year to show the progress these young people are making in the mastery of their state and their lives.

IKME-journals

Please “travel” with us as we explore the state including the 48 state parks. Please feel free to make additional suggestions about who we should know, where we should go, what we show do, and how much experience it takes to understand the state of Maine.

No Man Is an Island

I thought you might like to see some of the places we will go in the I Know ME program. In today’s blog we are looking at three islands that are part of the Maine state park system. Can you guess what they are, where they are, and how to get there from here?

The first is a small island that was once the home of Rear Admiral Robert Peary of North Pole fame. His former home is a museum and the grounds and gardens are still maintained for visitors. The park is open only during the summer months because few Maine visitors are ready for the arctic-like temperatures found on a windswept island. This island can be seen from Wolfe’s Neck State Park in Freeport.

The second island is close to Belfast but too far to swim. It is accessible only by boat but no public boat services go to it. How will we get there? Maybe by kayak or row boat or maybe a local friend with a boat will take us. I hear that it is very buggy in August but by September it is a cool and inviting island to explore with campsites that dot the perimeter of the island.

The third island is in a lake and not the ocean. If you climb the mountain on the island you can look down on the site of a former grand hotel. It is too far to swim to get to the island but there is a ferry site from the mainland. If you visit during the winter you could skate or ski across the lake.

Why visit islands? To stress that teamwork and planning are necessary to get to our goals. What are your goals for Maine and for the I Know ME program? We would love to hear from you.

-Partircia Estabrook

(Co-founder and Director)

Answers to the previous quiz:

Quiz 1

1. Easton and Eastport are ten miles from each other. 

      True or False

2. The largest naval defeat in U.S. history before Pearl Harbor was:     

    a. The battle of New Orleans    

    b. The Penobscot Expedition  

    c. The siege of Lake Erie

3. How many Maine state parks are managed by the Department of Conservation?    

    a. 10    

    b. All including Baxter State Park    

    c. All except Baxter State Park    

    d. 48

4. A ploye is a lie.   

      True or false

5. Two former Maine governors were Kings.   

      True or false

6. Where is Curtis Island and does it go all the way to the bottom?

    Just off the coast of Camden. Yes, it goes all the way to the bottom but tourists may not know that.

7. This man was called by his enemies, “… the Continental liar from the state of Maine.” Who was he?

    James G. Blaine

8. Aroostook County is bigger than:    

    a. Rhode Island    

    b. Connecticut    

    c. Rhode Island and Connecticut combined    

    d. Mississippi

9. The Whoopie Pie Festival is held annually in Dover-Foxcroft.   

      True or False

I Know ME is gaining steam. On November 29 there will be an informational meeting about the program at Mount View Middle School at 6 PM. If you know a 7th grader at Mount View who might be interested please contact Stephen Colby at 338-6447 for more information. Seventh graders and their families who are not able to make the meeting can still apply. Please contact Stephen for more information.

One of the many fun activities the I Know ME kids will be doing this year is “adopting” a food festival. The ultimate decision about which festival they should attend is up to the kids but we would like your opinions as well. Here is a list of just a few Maine food festivals. Which one do you think they should attend or should we add your favorite to the list?

  1. Wild Blueberry Festival in Machias
  2. Whoopie Pie Festival in Dover-Foxcroft
  3. Moxie Festival in Lisbon
  4. Red Hot Dog Festival in Dexter
  5. Clam Festival in Yarmouth
  6. Lobster Festival in Rockland

Kids will do more than enjoy great food and entertainment, they will also be volunteering at the festival to help organizers achieve success and understand the need for community involvement at all levels.

The Game Loft is pleased to announce the start of the I Know ME program. Funded by the Lerner Foundation and based on the Trekkers Youth Development Principles, I Know ME is a program of relationships and broadening horizons. The Game Loft will guide ten youth per year for the next six years in a program to learn about the state of Maine and to engage with Maine’s history, geography, economics, people, promise, and challenges. The young people in the program will be studying all facets of Maine through trips and other after-school adventures.

Here is a little quiz to see how well you know Maine. Over the next six years we will be sharing our adventures with you and a few challenges as well. One person who correctly answers this week’s questions will receive a Game Loft tee shirt and will be entered to win our 2018 grand prize. Good luck!

Quiz 1
  1. Easton and Eastport are ten miles from each other. 
      True or False
  2. The largest naval defeat in U.S. history before Pearl Harbor was:     
      a. The battle of New Orleans    
      b. The Penobscot Expedition    
      c. The siege of Lake Erie
  3. How many Maine state parks are managed by the Department of Conservation?    
      a. 10    
      b. All including Baxter State Park    
      c. All except Baxter State Park    
      d. 48
  4. A ploye is a lie.   
      True or false
  5. Two former Maine governors were Kings.   
      True or false
  6. Where is Curtis Island and does it go all the way to the bottom?
  7. This man was called by his enemies, “… the Continental liar from the state of Maine.” Who was he?
  8. Aroostook County is bigger than:    
      a. Rhode Island    
      b. Connecticut    
      c. Rhode Island and Connecticut combined    
      d. Mississippi
  9. The Whoopie Pie Festival is held annually in Dover-Foxcroft.   
      True or False
Quiz 2
Why should Game Loft kids study Maine for six years through trips, volunteering, interviews, exploration, and games?   
  1. To understand their home    
  2. To gain mastery of an important topic    
  3. To be able to talk knowledgably with adults    
  4. To become better citizens     
  5. To explore new areas of interest and to raise aspirations    
  6. To help gain academic and social skills    
  7. To bond with peers and adults    
  8. All of the above

The answers to these quizzes will be in our next blog. Each month the I Know ME blog will chronicle the places we have been and the things we have learned. If you have suggestions about the places where we should go, the people we should meet, the history we should encounter, the problems we should address, or the volunteer opportunities we should explore please contact us through this BLOG.

The I Know ME program is sponsored by the Emanuel and Pauline Lerner Foundation and is based on the Trekkers model for Positive Youth Development.

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